I have recently purchased a Nikon D5100. I have Photoshop CS2 on a laptop running Windows XP. I also have an Epson Stylus Photo RX 600. I cannot get my photos to print anywhere near what they look like onscreen.

The prints come out blurry, the color is out of whack, and there is even some "banding" going on.

I don't know where my problem might lie. I'm just hoping to get my situation straightened out so I can start getting some nice results! I think the equipment I have is sufficient, so I probably just need to change settings somewhere, but I don't know where.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't tackle this all at once! You have too many variable to figure out what is wrong: Your screen may not show the true colors and the printer may not print the colors of your image which you cant see! Start by calibrating your monitor. Then you can do a print calibration. Both those topics are covered here extensively IIRC. If you have trouble finding answers, ask specific ones for each step. For now I'll say this question is too broad and vague. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 22:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Better yet, don't bother with printing at home because the quality is poor and it costs a fortune. Just find a good print shop that will supply you with a printer profile you can match your screen to and away you go. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 22:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried printing out a photo that you didn't take to rule out issues with your camera etc? The first step in any color or printing issue is really calibrating your monitor. This applies if you are printing at home or a lab, so do that first! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 4:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the input. It sounds like monitor calibration is my first step. I'd like to add that I first shot the photo in RAW. I then downloaded it through View NX 2. There I converted to TIFF. I edited it in Photoshop CS2. I then converted it to JPEG in View NX 2. And finally printed it out of PS. Is this too many steps/conversions? \$\endgroup\$
    – Brian
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 13:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you using high quality paper? Although there's no particular reason to go to the step of converting to JPEG from TIFF before printing, none of that should cause the problems you're seeing. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


Your first steps are:

  • look through all printer settings related to speed and quality and select maximum quality and lowest speed whereever possible. In particular, you will get best results with Epson with "best photo", "high speed" unchecked, "smoothing" unchecked and other processing unchecked too
  • in Photoshop dialog select "printer manages colours" (the printer profile will get frozen at "adobe RGB")
  • in print settings in section "colour management" select "Colour controls" mode and select "Adobe RGB" from dropdown list

You will get best possible quality this way without building colour profile. You may further adjust colour settings in printer dialog to your liking.

However, it looks like your printer is malfunctioning. You will probably need head cleaning and head alignment.

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    \$\begingroup\$ He might also look at downloading an ICC profile for the paper and printer from the paper manufacturer's site. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 31, 2016 at 11:43

Until you profile and calibrate your monitor and printer, your printed pictures will not look as they do onscreen.

You have three main things to check. After each part checks out, you'll want to then check out how they're interconnected.

To check your camera, take a photo and bring it to your local drug store to have it printed on their standardized system. If it looks okay, move on to the monitor.

To check your monitor, download and look at a standardized file from your manufacturers web site.

To check your software, create a known file and see how it prints. Try a making a set of 10 grey squares from 0% to 100% black. That will check your gamma, neutrality, and banding in the cross-scan direction. Grey is good to reveal if there are colour alignment problems. You'll see colour in the grey if there's a problem with the printer. (You created a file with no colour; so, if you see any colours they were introduced by the printer.) Create the file in RGB as your camera creates an RGB file. The print-driver software converts RGB to CMYK for printing. Let it.

Standard test images are available on the web with instructions about what to look for in each test. Try to isolate the piece of equipment you want to test from the system you want to trouble-shoot.


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